If you are looking for warm and fuzzy warning this may not be the blog post for you. I have a confession to make I hate the holidays. Sure presents are fun and meals are great. But trying to meet some expectation that this year will be the most magical time of the year is for the birds. I am sure I am not alone in saying that it is the start of the loneliest and most depressing time of year. For some people the holidays are a reminder of what they don’t have. The most important thing at this time of year is family and if you don’t have one you feel alone.
I am the youngest of 5. But I was basically raised as an only child. My siblings are all old enough to be my parents and I am 36 so let’s put that into perspective. My siblings never acted like I was a part of them. In fact they would say “oh you are the baby you get away with murder.” My siblings had addictions, had teenage pregnancy, had domestic violence with each other and their significant others, dropped out of high school, got arrested and more. What “murder” could have I have possibly do that my parents weren’t already prepared for.
I have recently had a fall out with the only sibling I actually talk to. My 2 older brothers are stuck in their own issues and quite frankly I want no part of them. My older sister who was the baby before I was born was a miserable person to me and used me a great deal. And while I told her I forgave her I think I still need some time. She is not healthy. My oldest sister who I actually did talk to never thinks of me. I am sure she has passing thoughts such as, “I wonder what Jen is doing”, but other than that nothing more. She never calls unless you call first and the first thing she says is “Oh! I meant to call you.” My sister has her own issues and quite frankly she needs to focus on herself before she can reach out. Due to this falling out which I won’t get into she won’t ever call. And I have made the final decision to not call either. I know in making this decision I may never speak to her again and I realize that I have to be okay with that. I am tired of working on relationships that don’t feed me or my soul. I love my family but they are not my tribe. They don’t understand me. My siblings had a very different upbringing from mine and it was not a good one. Mine was okay. Except the part of not being encouraged to live my life for me and being an orphan by 18 years old. I witnessed a lot of what my siblings went through. They were physically violent on each other and my parents were physically violent with them. (There I said it). My parents fucked up my siblings and I think they saw what they did and treated me the opposite. My mother coddled me after my father died. Part of growing up is getting hurt and my mom would never allow that. As a result, when I was an adult I had to fight to get out of the box that I was put in by my family. The story of that fight is for another time.
Here is a thanksgiving story. I decided to go to a friend’s house for thanksgiving instead of dealing with the black hole energy that was and is still at my sister’s house. My sister was so mad that she stopped talking to me because she did not like the fact I chose to go elsewhere she cut me out. Cut me out so much that I began to plot my own demise. It was the first time I was hospitalized. Please do not misquote me. I don’t blame my sister for my hospitalization however my family is a huge trigger. It is my problem how I deal with them not theirs. I have been going to therapy for over 10 years to deal with this and it is only until recently that I raised my head out of this murk. I finally have said enough. I won’t let their behavior dictate my mental health any more. Which brings me to the point of relationships that feed you. My family does not feed me at all in fact they leave me with crumbs begging for more and I am DONE with that. I will love my family but I won’t be subject to this.
After my father died we moved to PA to be closer to my mom’s side of the family. She told my siblings it was their time now to create their own traditions. And I am now creating mine. My family are the people I choose. It may be small but it is mighty. The most important part of my little family is my husband, Mark. We moved to CO in 2016 and we have done thanksgiving our way. Our first year and this year we are going out to eat which is lovely. If you haven’t had the experience of doing this I would highly recommend it. You have no dishes afterward. I made calls to my husband’s family to wish them a happy turkey day. Last year we spent thanksgiving at Mark’s, brother PJ’s house. There we got to see my in laws, PJ’s wife Gen and their awesome boys Jackson and Declan. These are the relationships that feed my soul. This is not because I am taking sides. But these people my in laws have been there for me in my darkest.
Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, cliched isn’t it. I mean every blog and TV show talks about it. In looking at my life I am grateful, though. I am grateful for what I have been through as it has brought me to where I am at currently. Currently, I am sitting on a bed typing and listening to my husband play Red Dead Redemption II while my cat Nibby sleeps. I am in a warm bed, in a warm apartment. I have a great dinner planned. Yes, I may be sad about my family but I won’t let it get me down because I am so grateful. I am grateful for my cats who always bring me joy. I am especially grateful to my husband. He is a good man. I am grateful that while I am not working in social work I have a job that doesn’t suck. I am so grateful that I am not alone that while my biological family may not be who I want them to be that I have created relationships that are.
Other relationships that I have created are the ones with my cousin Heather and her family. They are awesome positive people and I miss them terribly as they are in TX. Nevertheless, I love reaching out to them because they make me happy. Furthermore, I am happy that my nephew Chris is coming out tomorrow and we are going to get to spend time together. Maybe this time of year is not as you want it but it maybe just the way you need it to be. I say fill up at the buffet of the people in your life that feed your soul.